HOUSTON – After one of the 22 women accusing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of assault spoke publicly Tuesday about her allegations against the football star, an attorney representing Watson said her lawyer asked for a $100,000 settlement before filing the lawsuit.
Below is a look at what both sides said Tuesday and the documents they provided.
KPRC 2 has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the documents provided by both Buzbee’s office and Hardin’s office.
‘I’m not afraid anymore’: Woman among 22 accusing Deshaun Watson of assault speaks about case
Ashely Solis, a massage therapist in Houston, said Watson assaulted her on March 30, 2020, at her home.
“I was afraid,” a tearful Solis said. “I’m not afraid anymore, and I do exist.”
Solis said she has flashbacks about the alleged assault, saying that she suffers from anxiety, panic attacks and depression as a result.
“Some days I feel like a hero,” Solis said. “Other days I feel like a failure. I replay the incident over and over in my head as if I’m trying to wake up from some horrible nightmare, only that nightmare is real.”
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the 22 women suing Watson, also presented a letter he said was written by Lauren Baxley, who is another of Watson’s accusers.
In the letter, which was read by attorney Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey, who is a member of the Buzbee law firm, Baxley said she had worked with other celebrities in the past and jumped at the chance to work with Watson when he contacted her via Instagram. She said she had stepped out of the room to give Watson privacy while he got under the sheets on the massage table and walked back in to find Watson nude face-down on the table. She accused Watson of refusing to wear a towel even after she said she was uncomfortable by him being uncovered and directing her to touch him in inappropriate ways.
“Every boundary, from professional and therapeutic to sexual and degrading, you crossed or attempted to cross,” Baxley wrote in the letter.
She said she felt “both powerless and trapped” and was worried about her livelihood, calling Watson a “predator with power.”
Read the full letter here:
Buzbee said he initially discouraged Solis from coming forward because he knew the scrutiny she would have to endure. He said his law firm has also turned away five women for whom he couldn’t make a case.
Buzbee said Solis and at least one other woman have provided a statement to police about Watson.
Watson’s attorney says Buzbee’s law firm asked for $100K settlement before lawsuit filed
Attorney Rusty Hardin, who is representing Watson, released an exchange of emails Tuesday after Buzbee’s news conference.
Hardin responded to Solis’ statements with emails he said are between Buzbee’s office and Watson’s representative. He said the exchange shows that a $100,000 settlement was demanded a month before the first lawsuit was filed against Watson. Hardin said Watson’s representative replied to the demand by saying the allegations don’t indicate Watson did anything wrong.
Hardin said the emails were sent between Feb. 3 and Feb. 19.
Below is the email exchange that was released by Hardin.
Entire news conference
Watson accuser speaks
Lawyer reads accuser’s letter